Author: Narayan Kaudinya

Learning from Mahatma, knowing Gandhi

There were many things i never liked about my school. And the foremost was that it unintentionally took my freedom away or so i think. I was never introduced to any ancient Indian texts, neither I learnt anything about Yoga or even Sanskrit till i was 13. A child like me who only wanted to see and know of the world was made to sit and learn answers to the question for examinations after every three months more like a parrot. So much so my unlearning started before i could wake up my interest for higher learning. And soon it started effecting my results in higher classes or that is what i think of it now probably because i couldn’t pursue anything apart from five subjects at school. I feel liberated at the thought that I am not in school. And more so there is no more need to answer questions about Gandhi’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle. School history curriculum was also one reason i did not take Modern History of India as my …

When a wedding found me travelling in Mumbai

It was then my first visit to Mumbai. And hence everything i was laying my eyes on went deeper than only seeing. I was hearing, more. Walking more. A place that promises light to your dreams ever since you earned consciousness, a place known for many a rags to riches story. Famous or infamous for world’s second largest Film Industry. I was there looking at every action, motion, observing how people move, react, are. Yet, I hadn’t been able to go out much then in Mumbai. One thing that i had loved walking in mumbai were the dairy shops where you would get Chai from the fresh milk. So one day while having malai/cream chai at a milk dairy I had started having a liking for, only because there was a beautiful big peepal tree I could sit under. And secondly. unlike in north India where there is milk a plenty but there is no way you can sit and enjoy different variations of milk in a dairy shop. Mumbai seemed to be bathing in …

The Play of Tendencies

There are many layers under our skin. Cells that live with us and leave us without even letting us know, doing their work quietly. Taking all the time of their own in becoming and unbecoming, as they slowly settle into a tendency. We become our tendencies. Repetition of gestures become life long habits. As simple as acquiring the taste of sugar. For some, Coffee in the morning is a habit. Like buying bottled(plastic) water, but it wasn’t used to be. Making a habit is a lot easier than breaking one (ask a smoker), you can live on old habits for a while, but the future seemingly depends on finding and building some new ones with (and for) your people. Or your family. Or yourself. As soon as something useless starts becoming a norm for the body; this mind should be taught a lesson. Every becoming habit should be tested in its phase of tendency. One must shock it, confront it. We should oppose ourselves, resist our actions, question and be strict with ourselves. Because, undoubtedly …

In Life’s darkness. Mother is light.

In these ongoing paralysing times of helplessness, while doing nothing; close your eyes. Think of water, a river. And if possible become it. Shiva was eyes wide open in all directions. Yet the destructive eye had to open, and took him inwards. Ujjain arrived in the morning. We went to pataloka to touch the equator in dim light and later ate potato spice. Darkness is the birth place of all creations. A child becomes in the dark. The lights glows the most in the dark. It is not that the darkness is wrong. It’s a part of life, a backdrop for the stars at night, the space between what you know. Darkness has a way of reminding you of the light. ExistING side by side. Sometimes overlapping, one explaining the other. And Mangla, the beautiful brown cow here in the village is pregnant. One big similarity, between a cow and a human mother is that both take nine months for their child to come out playing in the wild. Also one of many reasons, the oldest living civilisation …

A Journal of Animal stories in the last ancient fair of Nepal

“There is no other no other culture on earth that worships a woman as a goddess. And has gone to lengths, to make her happy, satisfy her with whatever means a man could imagine. Honoring her, doing little things, like this fair to keep her happy, may be to create another excuse to celebrate, however irrational it may be. Because you see, someone told me on this journey, that if in a family, a woman is happy everything will be favourable. Our goddess needs to happy, at any cost possible” GADHIMAI FAIR : A Journey through the culture of Nepal A sparrow woke us up. After travelling for three days overland, from Delhi to Kathmandu; changing buses including sharing a seat for seven hours with a goat. Through the night, travelling in a time travel bus I was transported from a civil society to a town living thirty years back. A town darkened by the moonless night, wearing a layer of fog only dissected by the headlight of a second world war Mercedes truck. Few …

Being the Light

People in general have been generous with us through the years. A doctor who took the time to understand our pain. A server who didn’t hesitate and brought to us what we needed before we even knew we needed it. A client who gave us a project at just the right time. Gifts create connection and possibility, but not all gifts have monetary value. In fact, some of the most important gifts involve time, effort and care instead. Money was invented long after humans arrived on the scene, and commerce, as we have seen- cannot solve all problems. In this moment when we are disconnected and afraid, uncertain of the future, not only of us but of humanity altogether, the answer might not be a freebie. That might simply push us further apart. The answer might be showing and standing up to do the difficult work of smiling, connecting, of caring, of telling the other, I am and of extending ourselves where it’s not expected.

SINGSONG : Finding the Father with the golden voice of Cambodia – A Photographic Film

In December 2018, I rented a bicycle and started recording songs of the people I would meet in my travels around in Cambodia. Through the sound filled in my ears I slowly started seeing. But few days later I realised listening, sitting in a room that all the songs that people sang were of the same singer. Sinn Sisamouth, the father with the golden voice of Cambodia. I started researching on this singer and soon learnt that Sinn Sisamouth was the most revered singer of Cambodia and South-east Asia then. He had gone missing under mysterious circumstances and was most likely killed in 1976 by the Khmer Rouge regime. And his songs were banned for the next four years to come. Khmer rouge was in power from 1975-79. It is estimated that the brutal regime claimed the lives of more than 1.9 million people. That was around 28 percent of the total population of Cambodia, eliminated. The regime tried to control and take the country back to the Middle ages, forcing millions of people from …